Through a team-based model that makes effective use of community health workers, nurses, and care hosts, Walmart’s health centers provide whole-person care, including primary care, dental, behavioral health, audiology and optical services. Why does this build trustworthiness? The use of community health workers throughout the care process demonstrates concern for patients and an understanding of their needs, and has helped lead patients to embrace preventive care.
How It Works
Walmart has launched Walmart Health, our onsite health centers to provide whole-person care, including primary care, dental, behavioral health, audiology and optical services. Our team-based model allows us to address clinical and SDOH needs.
At Walmart Health locations, the practice uses Community Health Workers and Care Hosts onsite and in the community to help patients navigate visits and understand resources. The CHW contacts the patient, refers to community partners and services (i.e. food, housing) and maintains a relationship with that patient, following up on a bi-monthly or monthly basis depending on needed support levels. CHWs are currently facilitating a Diabetes Prevention Program pilot with HabitNu in Chicago to help address risk factors in at-risk populations that lead to diabetes diagnoses.
CHWs are people who come from the communities they serve, who understand the problems people face, and who use their knowledge of the community to help people become healthier. CHWs have backgrounds in sociology, social work, public health and related fields, making them an expert resource for those who need them. Among the issues they have assisted with are helping a homeless mother and daughter with supportive housing and surgical resources; helping a cancer survivor find affordable blood testing to continue monitoring her recovery, as well as apply for Medicaid; and helping an elderly couple find transportation to doctor’s appointments, along with food resources.
Skills and Competencies
Our board-certified clinicians provide patient-centered care in partnership with a team of care members, including nurses, CHWs, and care hosts. About half of patient visits are for primary care while the other half is for specialty care such as optometry, dental and behavioral health. We recognize the importance of addressing the full spectrum of healthcare needs to increase overall well-being and have built our model based on best-in-class standards. The design of our facilities has accounted for community characteristics, and we have partnered with SME organizations to tailor the Walmart Health design to meet the unique needs of communities, while also allowing us to efficiently scale.
According to a survey of U.S. customers conducted by our Walmart insights team, cost is the top barrier to healthcare for 43% of Walmart shoppers, followed by convenience (27%) and access (22%). Additionally, 40% of those surveyed have delayed medical care. Walmart recognizes the importance of addressing the full spectrum of healthcare needs to increase overall well-being in entire communities and conducts quarterly wellness events in our stores that offer free health screenings to community residents.
Walmart has nearly 4,000 locations located within designated Medically Underserved Areas. In many of those locations, Walmart is the only pharmacy option, and our patients need access to a full range of healthcare services. Half of our patient visit volume is for primary care, on average, while the other half is for specialty care such as optometry, dental and behavioral health needs.
Walmart Health locations operate on community service, which include: (1) A seven-days-a-week schedule, (2) Communication through known, trusted voices, and (3) ensuring tech literacy is not a requirement for access.
Customers are responding favorably to Walmart Health’s convenience, which provides one central location for primary and urgent care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental, optical and hearing services with weekend and evening availability. We regularly have customers tell us they had “no idea healthcare could be so affordable,” and they appreciate the convenience of “getting all my care in one visit, so I only have to miss work one time.”
Primary care visits are starting to transition to chronic care management, as patients embrace preventive care. Our longest-standing Walmart Health locations are seeing the largest shifts toward chronic care management and continuity of care, as the patient population responds to the quality and convenient care offered at Walmart Health. Our goal is to help patients proactively manage their health through preventive care.
Walmart Health visits are increasing: 50 percent of visits booked are returning patients. Ninety-six percent of patients “felt cared for” and said Walmart Health visits met their health needs, according to our Insights study. Our NPS scores are rising: Our new dental services reached a high of 84, the score for Optometry rose to 78, and Medical services most recently scored 81.
Walmart Health has 20 locations and is expanding to Florida. We have 4,700+ pharmacies and more than 16,000 pharmacists. Since 2017, we have introduced 4,600 in-store health kiosks that have been used by more than 67 million customers between 2018 – 2020. Our Wellness events, which typically take place four times per year, have helped customers discover underlying issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes that they now can manage. Quarterly wellness events have contributed to more than 4.4 million free health screenings.